City workers took to the streets of San Diego Tuesday, waving signs, chanting and blowing whistles to protest possible pay cuts.
Hundreds of San Diego employees rallied outside city Hall, chanting, "Fair is fair," saying that they have earned their pay and benefits. They said it's wrong -- possibly even illegal -- for Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council to cut their pay to help balance the city budget.
Some of the protesters carried signs that said, among other things, "I've Been Jerry Slandered," "Pete Wilson Promised -- Jerry Sanders Taketh" and "We Already Gave at the Bargaining Table."
On Monday, Sanders put forth his annual budget proposal, one component of which was to cut the pay of all city workers -- the high and the low -- by 6 percent to help fill a $60 million deficit projected for 2010. The City Council is set to begin discussing the budget proposal on Tuesday afternoon.
City Councilman Carl DeMaio said the pay cuts should be even deeper.
"You could literally balance the city's budget and secure the city's financial future if you just provided city employees with the same deal that all other San Diegans are getting," DaMaio said. "That's what we're talking about here."
Union employees insist, though, that they have already made sacrifices to help balance the budget.
"It's already hard enough to live here in San Diego," San Diego city employee Colin Brazile said. "We haven't had an increase in years, and now they're basically taking us back to our pay for 2004."
Sanders has said that the city either needs to cut pay and services of lay off workers.